Saturday 22 September 2018

Arsenal wasted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 'unbelievable' goalscoring potential, says Jurgen Klopp

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to take on Arsenal for the first time since he left the club in August
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preparing to take on Arsenal for the first time since he left the club in August

Timothy Abraham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims Arsenal wasted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s “unbelievable” goalscoring potential ahead of his return to the Emirates.

The England international joined Liverpool for £35m in August after the 24-year-old rejected the offer of a new contract with the Gunners.

Oxlade-Chamberlain managed 20 goals in 198 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions during six years with the London club.

Klopp felt perhaps Arsene Wenger ignored Oxlade-Chamberlain’s qualities in front of goal because he had players of the ilk of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

And following work on the training ground with the attacking midfielder, Klopp is confident he will make a significant contribution in this area going forward.

“I think the biggest improvement and potential (for Oxlade-Chamberlain) is being involved in goalscoring situations,” Klopp said.

“It is unbelievable but he was not asked for this too much in the past. If you watch Arsenal in the past their two decisive players were Ozil and Sanchez.

“They are involved in a lot of moments, and decisive passes. Ozil or Sanchez. And then you are not much involved.

“Here we put it on more shoulders, much more shoulders. If he is on the pitch he needs to be involved in these situations. At the moment I am fine. It’s all good.

“There is a lot of space for improvement as well. It’s all good.”

Meanwhile, Klopp has confirmed that defender Joel Matip will miss the trip to London to face Arsenal but should be available for the remainder of the festive period.

The Cameroon defender has been struggling with a muscular injury which has kept on the sidelines since Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Stoke at the end of November.

Klopp said: “Joel Matip was back in training yesterday. Joel is positive. I am not sure he’s ready for Arsenal, but the games coming up I’m sure.

“We have these little reactions for a few players from the last game so we need to wait a little bit.

“Apart from Daniel Sturridge who was a little bit ill, but even he could be back. I’m not sure, we have the long-term.”

Left-back Albert Moreno remains out for “a few weeks” but Klopp revealed midfielder Adam Lallana is now closing in on full match fitness following a cameo from the bench in their 4-0 over Bournemouth.

He added: “He’s back but he needs to collect minutes. He is not ready for three games and 90 minutes in a row but is ready for specific moment.

“We need to build up his match fitness step by step. Very good news for all of us.”

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